SpeedData Post #1

Author: Andy Hartwell

Substrakt was approached by Birmingham City University (the lovely folks at Screen Media Lab) to help run an event as part of an extension to the Advantage West Midlands’ funded Lucid (Location, User and Context-Aware Information Delivery) project. Working alongside Nick Booth from Podnosh, and Dave Harte from BCU we put together an event aimed at senior managers in the public sector who suspect they can save money and improve what they do by using data differently. The first SpeedData event took place at Fazeley Studios yesterday.

‘SpeedData’ is a unique approach to addressing one of the key digital challenges in the years ahead: how do we take raw digital data and make something useful with it? As national and local government rush to open data sources for re-use there’s a potential gap emerging in the ability of citizens to understand how this raw information can offer new insights into how public services operate and how they perform.

‘SpeedData’ brings together the public sector with the brightest digital talent within the West Midlands. Coders, hackers and data experts will create new citizen-focused resources shaped by the expertise of those across the public sector. The event will be a clear demonstration of what’s possible through joint collaboration of this kind and give an insight into the potential of the West Midlands to lead in the area of innovative applications of public sector data.
We managed to rope a few key West Midlands names into the equation, including Matthew Somerville, Chris Taggart and Jon Bounds, as well as Nick and Dave. Our very own Mark Steadman was due to be involved too but is unfortunately stuck in Florida due to cancelled flights.

The event was a great success, with representatives from organisations including NHS, West Midlands Police and Centro attending and putting forward some interesting ideas. A more detailed summary including audio interviews can be found at http://bevocal.org.uk/

The next stage of the project is to actually build something to demonstrate to the attendees how their problems / ideas can be developed, so Substrakt will be holding a development (hack) day to take it to the next stage. We are also preparing a full write-up of the event that will be printed and available on request.

More details will become available as the project unfolds, or, if you have some ideas of where you’d like to see it go, contact us.

SpeedData branding by Distrakt.